Its my privilege to attend Network Field Day 18 in San Jose in two weeks. As I prepare for the event, its good to run down the vendors and review what I know:
Themes: I’m expecting to see some consistent themes over the event.
- Analytics – what is the user suffering through and how can we improve the visibility of what is being suffered ?
- Multi-cloud – everyone wants its all on-prem AND off-prem and multivendor (but is anyone going to do any of it?)
- Kubernetes – its the current fashion to have a Kubernetes thing. Enterprise IT strategies take years to make decisions but we need to know that we can support it (even though Kubernetes is probably another OpenStack)
- Software Defined – the move to SDN continues to gather momentum and trickle down to the real world. I’m looking for maturing feature sets, real world applicability and meeting what the majority can use (not just the early adopters)
This will be brief because we are migrating the Packet Pushers web sites over the next few weeks and there is SO much to do. Its pointless work but it has to be done but I wanted to review the vendors ahead of next week. Its like my homework to get prepared and make the most of the sessions.
Big Switch Networks
I feel I know Big Switch pretty well at this point. I’ve had regular briefings and updates plus a number of previous Field Day appearances (and podcasts on Packet Pushers). More recently they have been making the transition to hyperconverged and forging partnerships and we have seen a number of Kubernetes announcements (all the fashion right now, its the new black). SDN is more than ‘configuration’ to me so Big Mon Recorder Node and Big Mon Analytics Node are products that I am watching. After receiving this in an email, I think Big Switch has an announcement planned:
“You are invited to our July 19th launch webinar where we will share the next BIG announcement from Big Switch Networks. Curious? Think about how Enterprise IT has tasted the sweet simplicity of Public Cloud – rapid SLA’s, Agility, Flexible Scalability – and expectations for On-Prem Private Cloud operations have fundamentally shifted.”
Look forward to hearing more about that.
I watched previous presentations from IPinfusion about OcNOS and particularly their support for what vendors like to call ‘advanced features’ (come on, we have had twenty years of MPLS tags its not magic unicorn dust anymore).
Still, most networking vendors struggle to write quality code and often turned to IPinfusion to provide part or all of their own Network Operating Systems including the routing code. I like that IPinfusion has 20+ years of focus on writing network applications instead of selling them which, hopefully, could mean a focus on a product that works as promised.
My view is that the Network Operating System is the foundation of any SDN strategy. Lets see what IPinfusion has.
Analytics is key to any SDN strategy today. SDN solves the system visibility and configuration management of a network but we still need to know what the user experience. This requires a shift away from “the network is working” to Quality of Experience (QoE) – what does the user endure when operating an application ? Nyansa is using ML to analyse gathered data from the network. The previous presentation was wireless-centric and I’m expecting to hear that the product has continued to expand the analysis to cover Campus.
Ansible is the software platform du-jour for small batch task automation today. I see it as popular because of its agentless operation and strong support for SSH and ultimately networking CLIs. Lets face it, most people are stuck with their legacy infrastructure.
I have mixed feelings about the use of Ansible and Python to develop automation. In my view, most networks are going to use an SDN controller to deliver far more than can reasonably be achieved with Ansible in the long run. That said, very serious applications have been developed and deployed to manage valuable networks. I’m looking forward to comparing Ansible with Gluware since there are some similarities in their approach.
The Gluware orchestration engine is unique in my mind, a proto-ML platform that can generate and deploy configurations to device in your existing infrastructure. Most companies want to sell you new gear, new software (and license) and put you through a whole bunch of pain. Moving ahead sometimes needs that but sometimes you need to start to get moving. Gluware can start the automation with hand coding in Python and get you there.
The core application is getting regular updates and has a substantial number of customers so I’m expecting to hear more about the progression. Always hoping for more though.
Anuta’s ATOM orchestration platform is a true multi-vendor orchestrator (150 platforms from 40+vendors) using whatever APIs are available to get the job done. Thats a serious development effort and clear differentiator because, lets face it, your private cloud is a mix of legacy equipment and no one wants to replace the old stuff (while complaining that the legacy is holding them back).
The platform continues to evolve and I’ll be looking for new features and functions.
Initial thoughts for A10 is a high performance, software-centric load balancer/application delivery controller. Upon checking out their website, I’ve noticed a few things:
- Security – the money flowing into Enterprise IT security products show no signs of stopping. Vendors have rapidly adapted their protocol proxies into security inspection engines to follow the market. Remember kids, security always sells.
- DDOS – DDOS is not security feature, its infrastructure feature. I’m looking to defend my off or on premises services from
- Multi-cloud – a strong theme from vendors is ‘multi-cloud’ and A10 Networks was early to market with automation support. Their own software focus gave them an edge here,
The EtherealMind View
Its my privilege to learn from vendors via briefings and updates on a regular basis, but three days of Network Field Day is the best bang for buck for staying up to date.
You can watch the live feed of the event. You can find links to the live feeds here and the calendar is below:
Link: Networking Field Day 18 – Tech Field Day – http://techfieldday.com/event/nfd18/
|Wednesday, Jul 18||9:30 – 11:30||Gluware Presents at Networking Field Day 18|
|Wednesday, Jul 18||13:00 – 15:00||IP Infusion Presents at Networking Field Day 18|
|Wednesday, Jul 18||16:00 – 18:00||Big Switch Networks Presents at Networking Field Day 18|
|Thursday, Jul 19||8:00 – 9:00||Anuta Networks Presents at Networking Field Day 18|
|Thursday, Jul 19||11:00 – 13:00||Nyansa Presents at Networking Field Day 18|
|Thursday, Jul 19||15:00 – 17:00||Red Hat Ansible Automation Presents at Networking Field Day 18|
|Friday, Jul 20||9:00 – 11:00||A10 Networks Presents at Networking Field Day 18|